Besides the mines, Hill 749 was one tough defensive network. It was part of one of
the "T' shaped ridges, and the enemy had taken maximum advantage of the terrain in
his defense. The right-angle ridges were murderously effective defensive bulwarks
providing a strength similar to that of inland defenses on Iwo Jima, Peleliu, and
Okinawa. "Attackers fighting their way up the leg of the 'T' came under deadly crossfire
from the head of the imaginary letter-a transverse ridgeline bristling with mortars and
machine guns positioned in bunkers."58
Even in the hell of this battle, some Marines still had a sense of humor. Navy
Corpsman Joe Havens with 2/1 remembered: "The first North Korean I saw was a dead
one. Left so we newcomers would see him, he was propped up in a sitting position in a
bend on one of the trails on Hill 749. He held in one hand a dead man's poker hand of
aces and eights."59
Some reports from other elements of the division deemed support from both air
and artillery adequate that day, but past a certain geographic point, 2/1 could not utilize
either freely lest they inadvertently hit 2/7's remaining men. The "cannon cockers" of the
11th Marines (and X Corps artillery like the 780th FAB, Battery "C") expended 2,133
rounds of artillery. Marines used 4.2 inch mortars abundantly that day as well. These
fired 261 HE (High Explosive) and 28 WP (White Phosphorous "Willie Pete") rounds in
the day's fighting. Engineers helped the advance by clearing mine fields. Charlie
Company 1st Tank Battalion, fired 720 rounds, which resulted in the destruction of six
s8 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 192; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 18.
59 Oral account of Hospitalman Joe Havens of Dog Company, 2/1 in: Knox, Uncertain Victory, 300.
60 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 191; 1 Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 14,
Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed January 27, 2015.